The new restrictions are to come into effect on Thursday or Friday, according to Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki.

The number of positive coronavirus samples have increased to four percent in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today
The number of positive coronavirus samples have increased to four percent in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group has decided to impose even harder restrictions to tackle the spreading phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It doesn’t help if the vast majority of people are operating smartly if a significant number are not doing so,” Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki said in a press conference on Tuesday morning. “In this country and in this city,” Vapaavuori said, “the epidemic situation is difficult.”

Last Friday, the mayors of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo revealed new restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The capital region, including Uusimaa, are now considered to be in the spreading phase of the pandemic.

New restrictions came into effect on Monday and include, for example, limiting all public events to 20 people and restricting the number of patrons in swimming halls to half.

Now, the cities would, according to Vapaavuori, impose “all available restrictions” within their authority.

These include closing the facilities for public services, banning all public events and transferring upper secondary and vocational schools to distance learning.

Vapaavuori said that the need for hospital care has increased and there are worrying cases of new infections in, for example, nursing homes.

On Tuesday, 353 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in Finland of which 165 were found in the capital region.

Final decisions on the new restrictions are going to be made on Thursday and will be revealed in full latest on Friday.